GRATITUDE x INFINITY

Hope

Hope

Today was the last day of the Coat/Boot Drive for the Open Door Mission.  Here is the thank you to the kind folks who had drop off stations at their business…

“On behalf of the Open Door Mission, please accept my heartfelt gratitude for you and your staff for your support of the Coat and Boot drive for women and children during the month of January. No doubt this has been one of the coldest winter months on record in Rochester in a long time and it has been especially hard on those we serve with clothing, shelter and food.

The women who have been visiting the clothing room at the Mission have testified that if it weren’t for the free clothing program their children would be going without the winter clothes they need to stay warm outside while waiting for the school bus. The mom’s are also grateful they don’t need to buy winter clothes for their children, but rather save that money to pay their abnormally high heating bills.

We are so very grateful for all of the many caring neighbors who support the work of Open Door Mission. Your generosity is what makes this outreach to our hurting neighbors very gratifying. Thank you again for your continued partnership as together we reach out to our neighbors in need to restore hope and change lives.”

Made me ever so grateful for the basics in life – food, clothing and shelter – and LOVE. And hopeful for what a community can do together, for the inevitable Spring, and for my mind and heart that function well and allow me to be my best self.

What are you grateful for?  What gives you hope?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

 

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PRIORITIES – PART TWO

Temptation

Temptation

Rested as much as I could last night then went back to the storage unit to finish up.  It was 27 and the 17 degrees of warmth compared to yesterday made all the difference – plus no wind – good! This project is wrapped up – file cabinets are getting picked up tomorrow and it will be EMPTY. Yay!

My Number One Priority for today got checked off my list along with a few others.

I plan a week at a time so there is comfort in know the tasks will get one over the course of the week. Once the tasks are on paper, they don’t float around as much in my head and I do less unproductive multi-tasking.

Every day, I have 6 Must Do’s rank ordered on the list that I write down the night before (thank you Mary Kay Cosmetics and Theresa Kusak-Smith for that great task management tool!) I also use an adapted ABC 123 method from Stephen Covey; A=Absolutely must get done, B=Be nice if I could get it done, C=Can get to it tomorrow. Items are numbered within the ABC to indicate priority as well.

The 6 Must Do items are all “A” Level and if I choose to do a B or a C then it means I have in reality made it an “A” list item.  Often times B and C items are smaller, easier and more fun – but not as IMPORTANT as A items. Bs and Cs can be magnetic and enticing because I can check them off – which I LOVE to do – so I have to work hard to stay focused on the A List.

I have not mentioned distractions and temptations. It can be anything – I work at home so there are 47,000 things to do here besides work. That is a whole different discussion! Needless to say, there were many SWEET temptations this month – even thought I cleared my house of sugar – I had a bag of Ghiradelli chocolates for house guests – yeah sure. I could feel their presence in the pantry….The guests had a few and as soon as they left I had to get rid of them ASAP – shared with neighbors – too tempting!!!

How do you set priorities? What are your time temptations? What can you do to keep your tasks on track?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

 

 

THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE

Rally Cap

Rally Cap

Cold is still here – my cold and THE cold.

I wanted to stay inside, bed, under the World’s Greatest Blanket (aka The Cloud).  I HAD to rally and go outside to do Part One of a storage unit clean out for a Foundation Board I am on.  I did not feel good and the Wah Factor was high.

I could have waited which would had left more to do on tomorrow and we had to have it cleaned out by 1/31…also, there is only so much room in the Mighty Honda –  I knew there would have to be two trips.

I took a 3o minute power nap. Got up and layered up including Dad’s wool sweater from his skiing days – it is as old as I am – and is like wearing 5 sheep – windproof, waterproof and has magical powers. Made positive self-talk. Topped it all off with my long swim parka, scarf, hat and gloves – I was good to go. It was sunny and windy and 10 degrees – yup.  It hurt my eyelids a little bit to be out there.

I was reminded that this micro-level task of cleaning out a storage unit – on a bitter day, by myself, with a cold, in a slightly, creepy, silent, isolated storage place was Love Actually – not the movie – but was actually love – an act of love for the organization I have been a part of since 1985. I chose to take on this task, in this fashion and it really was safe (pretty sure, although I made a phone call going in and one coming out just to be sure they could track my path in case something happened…some say paranoid, I say careful.)  I share this not for sympathy but for clarity. I do not want “credit” for this task and in fact it was a team effort all along – I was doing the last bits. Thank you Marilyn, Terry and Myra!

Because I am not good with details – I often have to remind myself when I am in the Micro – what the Macro end result is going to be. In this case, releasing the storage unit would save us $520 and help us continue to streamline our work. It is one of several things we are all doing as a Board to make us function well – financially and organizationally.  So YAY for the empty storage unit! Next step – SHRED.

What do you care about so much that the micro-level task is an act of love?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

 

IF EVERYTHING’S IMPORTANT THEN NOTHING’S IMPORTANT

 

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

This month I made it a priority to reduce my refined sugar intake. A few more days to go and I’m feeling like I really changed my habits around sweetening my food and rewarding myself (every day!?) with desserts and sweets. The deliberate efforts have carried over to other areas – a reward in itself!

I have learned in a relatively short amount of time, to maintain some discipline and really regulate what I am eating – portion control for one and REALLY tasting my food for another (without the added sweetness)…and actually sitting down to eat.  Yes, I am a Stand Up Eater.  I am not sure how it started but it is an easy habit to get into and a hard one to quit. It fosters other bad habits like multi-tasking – cooking/talking on the phone, computer/talking on the phone, tv/talking on the phone/computer, talking on the phone/laundry/brushing teeth….everything I NEVER want to be…a slippery slope and a slow fade into the depths of multitasking h–l.

It also fosters other B-A-D procrastination habits – you know what I am talking  about.

That said, I see no problem with having the laundry going while the dishwasher is going while the carrot soup is melding on the stove while I write this blog – that is expert ninja planning. The problem arises when a project I could/should tick off my list stays ON the list for days/weeks/years. “Write book”, “do taxes”, “clean house”.  I am steadily learning to break those tasks down small enough to check them off daily. And tolerating less of the old way to make way for the new and better. Others have mastered this skill much earlier in their lives than I and I admire that.  I have to work extra hard to do this.

You see, I have a focus problem (really?) and apparently enjoy starting a task, moving on to say, 5 more without finishing them and then circling back to the first task…eventually. It is an attempt to make “Everything Important” – in that it is hard to be working to finish one project when the other ones float around my mind demanding attention.  The project to project to project process seems productive on the surface….underneath it fosters chaos. Good and bad, the rooms in my house have doors which means several projects hide behind those doors but because I can’t see them they are not really there.  I am a child.

See next blog post for more on “Tolerations” 🙂

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF REST

Curtis and the Cloud

Curtis and the Cloud

HOME.

It has been so cold. Record low temperatures which I can choose to stay OUT of and inside my house! I am so thankful that I have a heated home and a car that works – and food and clothing and cats.

Have had a chance to help with a Coat and Boot Drive for the Open Door Mission here in Rochester.  We have 7 drop off locations and have been able to restock the ODM Store with enough coats to help a few more families get through the Polar Vortex. Hard to imagine.

Two days at HOME have been restorative. But….it feels like I am coming down with something…argh. Stayed in all day yesterday and went out today for a meeting and to get my car inspected….now hunkering down to rest up for going to Henry Hudson School on Wednesday – hope I don’t get sick! Will do the salt water gargle for the sore throat and honey for the cough – I am trying hard to NOT take Advil but am feeling pretty achy…

Hope you are staying healthy, warm and grateful for what you have 🙂

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

HUH.

Burt Bacharach's Inn

Burt Bacharach’s Inn

Back in the day...

Back in the day…

Drove up to my in East Norwich, NY last Thursday and did a double-take…this Inn is owned by Burt Bacharach – who knew?! He was not there. Well, he is still here (alive) but was not there to welcome me – drats!  Burt Bacharach is a famous songwriter – he is 85 years old and still on tour.  Yup.

Burt is a 6 time Grammy and 3 Time Academy Award winner with hit songs from the 195os -1980s…I am most familiar with his work from the 60s and 70s…popular songs on the radio…”Do You Know the Way to San Jose”, “Alfie”, “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”, “What the World Needs Now is Love”, “I Say a Little Prayer”, and “Walk On By”. Many of his songs were made famous by Dionne Warwick, The Carpenters, Herb Alpert, Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones.  Oh and of course a few recent cameo appearances in the Austin Powers movies – huh.

Well, it made for an interesting stay – it was a safe, simple place and mostly clean…and was my second to last night before HOME…The weather cooperated and because I was there early (before sunset) I had a fairly relaxing night and got some work done…it was soooooo much better to have a 2 -3 hour drive instead of 6 hours like my Plan A…things always seem to have a way of working out.

Stayed with a great friend on Friday night thankfully and got home Saturday…there IS no place like home…

What is “home” for you?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

ALWAYS LEARNING

Homework

Homework

My long-time friend, Jeanne Hart-Steffes gave me a stack of books – some to keep – how nice! She is intensely involved in sustainability efforts in particular with our professional association ACPA (American College Personnel Association-College Student Educators International.  I hope to get more involved at this level – next year – after the Convention – after Semester at Sea…

Jeanne and Dory let me stay in their beautiful home on my long week On The Road which made all the difference…home cooked meals, comfy bed, happy conversation and kindness so often missing  OTR. Grateful x infinity. Oh, and the furry family members who made my stay very personal – Emmy, Sophie, McKenna and Maya! Jeanne I were Residence Hall Directors at Cornell in the mid-1980s – our first job out of grad school…good times!  28 years later we are still friends in spite of time and distance. 

My homework is to broaden my knowledge base on sustainability as I continue to wonder about how to facilitate learning for college students on “extending their leadership shelf-life.”  Started with the ACPA monograph. “Toward a Sustainable Future” which only half way in is shifting some of my thinking about how I can better engage students in this movement….yay for brain work!

What shifts are you feeling these days????

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

LEAD GREEN – LOW SUGAR

Joe's Low Sugar

Joe’s Low Sugar

Winding down my no sugar month…it has been very interesting with an early steep learning (detox) curve now leveling out with huge benefits!

I feel like I have more energy – certainly a more steady energy level during the day – no ups and drops because of a salted caramel hot chocolate or a Coca Cola…I was 97% sugar-free this month – choosing low sugar if there were limited no sugar options, allowed a little honey here and there to jazz up my plain yogurt and on the road had travel-sized sweetened vanilla almond milks.

For the most part, I feel like I am OFF sugar which given my sweet tooth (I heart dark chocolate) is a big deal.  I have transferred over to unsweetened Wegman’s brand almond milk – $2.99 vs Silk at 3.29 btw 🙂 and out of the habit of  putting sugar in my coffee/tea (decaf). I still crave sweets in the afternoon and evening but apples, applesauce or dried fruit seems to take care of it – for real. Most dried fruit has some or a lot of sugar in it so I have to be careful there.

I always scoffed at magazine articles that offered “simply replace the brownie with an apple” suggestion – hahahahahaha.  As if…but now I get it! AND My dentist will be proud 🙂 Last time I was there I had two cavities!  I thought I was past that but all last summer and fall I was drinking a lot of sweetened iced coffee and Gatorade….cause….effect.  I expect to get two stickers at my next visit.

I am also pretty sure there was a weight loss – will know on 2/1 and will share without over sharing.

24 Days of No (Low) Sugar and I do believe I am cured…will advise.

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

ON THE ROAD…STILL

Good Real Food

Good Real Food

Plan B – Still on the road…Plan A was to (weather permitting) drive home from MA yesterday (4+ hours) then the drive back out to Long Island (6+ hours) today – made sense at the time

I am so desperate to be home these days that the idea of being able to go home mid-week eased my pre-trip anxiety a bit. But…given the weather  (abundant winter storm warnings) and how Plan B was much wiser – safer, greener and a better use of time – I stayed out on the road.

Ever grateful to friends for hosting me (Room and Board and Kindness!) – only 1 of the 5 nights out is in a hotel…and very little road food…Found this great shop across the street from my hotel and had a trio of natural deliciousness for dinner – fava beans and greens, wild rice salad and roasted potatoes…all nicely heated up down the hall from my room in the lobby.  It is all about access, options, then choice…to eat well – even while traveling.  So happy – thank you Christina’s Epicure!

AND s0 grateful to have a warm, safe, mostly clean bed to sleep in when I know that not everyone has that option or choice…thank you Jesus….

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

MAKE NEW FRIENDS

Emmy

New Friend Emmy

 

Sophie, Maya, McKenna

Sophie, Maya, McKenna

Another great day at Springfield College with Student Government…it felt like Old Home Week 🙂 Back in the day, I got to work with SGA and the Campus Activities Board (used to be called BOG – Board of Governors)….

I felt like I was with old friends even though we had just met – the same spark and passion I remember from 25 years ago!  SGA wants to make a difference and they are in exciting times with a new vibrant president, Mary-Beth Cooper – lucky SC!!!

When I was there….gosh, those were difficult days at SC…East Campus land – the  history and the legacy there –  was compromised, the mission of the college was at risk and faculty, staff and students were at odds with the president…SGA staged a walk out of classes to protest the decisions made about East Campus and other concerns about the College governance…I think it has taken many people a long time to come to terms with everything that happened then and the years to follow…It is a special place…

I got to stay with an old friend these past few days, and made some new furry friends – these beauties, Emmy, Sophie, Maya and McKenna – a real treat to have the welcoming hospitality of people I know on the lonely road of travel…made it easier to live out of my car for a week!

Times change, people come and go, stay and leave, learn and lead…weaving their way along their own path and making their mark on others…I am better person for having worked with the Old Friends at SC and blessed to spend time with the New Friends…one is silver and the other gold…

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin